The USAID Center for International Disaster Information (“USAID CID) seeks Public Service Announcement (“PSA”) entries that illustrate how to donate responsibly when supporting disaster relief overseas. Specifically, we are looking for your print, video and digital image entries to inform and engage the public on effective donations which showcase your bold thinking, originality and creative ideas.

PSAid challenges college students to create advertisements that illustrate how to donate responsibly when supporting disaster relief overseas, and build support for relief work carried out by well-established US-based international disaster relief organizations. Students compete to have their work displayed in national publication and on TV.

All entries must be received no later than 11:59PM PDT on March 28, 2019. The key contest dates are:

    • Entries due: March 28, 2019
    • Winners in each category announced: On or about April 15, 2019.

The competition is open to all US citizens and legal residents, over 18 years of age as of entry date and living in the United States (defined as the 50 states and Washington, DC).

The official Contest Rules and Guidelines are available at All entrants must read and understand these guidelines for their entry to be valid. Entrants must submit original work; entries that have previously won awards are not eligible.

There are 3 categories: Print, Video, and Digital Image. These categories allow contestants to submit entries that could be used in online and print publications across a wide variety of industries. You will also have the option to submit your PSAs in English or Spanish.

All winning PSAs will receive national distribution and will be showcased through USAID CIDI’s websites and online channels, reaching millions of viewers. Past winning PSAs have aired during episodes of Family Guy, The Bachelor, Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live, among others. Winning print PSAs have been featured in Rolling Stone, The Washington Times, Washingtonian magazine, Forbes, Scientific American, and Upscale magazine.

In addition, PSAid winners will gain valuable career experience in a creative, competitive, public platform and deliver critical messaging nationwide.

No. Although we have found that students are more engaged and inclined to participate in this opportunity when it is presented on a course syllabus, students may feel free to submit contest entries independently and outside of a formal course. 

Once the winning submissions are selected, USAID CIDI will work with local and national print and online publications to place the winning submissions into circulation as a PSA for USAID CIDI and international disaster relief efforts.

No, no prior approval is necessary to add PSAID to your syllabus.

Yes. All students, regardless of education level, are encouraged to participate and submit contest entries.

Winning PSAs have aired during episodes of Family Guy, The Bachelor, Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live, among others. Winning print PSAs have been featured in Rolling Stone, The Washington Times, Washingtonian magazine, Forbes, Scientific American, and Upscale magazine.


The steps for entering are:

  1. Register as an Individual Contestant or for groups, designate a group leader and the group leader will register the group at
  2. Create your PSA.
  3. Upload the PSA to
    1. If a print/banner ad submission, follow the formatting guidelines for your PSA specified here.
    2. If a video submission, it must be in one of the specified formats listed here.
    3. If a digital image submission, be certain to upload both required formats and to follow the formatting guidelines for your PSA specified here.
  4. Submit the required registration information online. This includes basic information and the release authorizations from actors or/and owners of proprietary material within the PSA.
  5. Contest administrators review and approve the registration information and PSA for completeness. If there are problems or issues with any part of the submission, the contestant(s) will be notified in order for necessary adjustments. The PSA entry will not be displayed on the website until all materials are in order.
  6. When the submission period ends, the judges review all the PSAs and select three winners in each category.

For an entry to be complete, we must receive your:

  1. PSA
  2. Registration and certification information
  3. Any applicable personal release forms

All items are completed online at A .pdf copy of these forms is available on the Resources page of website. All items are due no later than 11:59 PDT on March 28, 2019.

All submissions must be original works. Entries may not have been entered into any other contest or won any other award. 

You may submit one entry per submission category. Please note that the three categories will be judged independently of each other.

For contestants who desire to work in teams, entries may be submitted as a group. There is no limit to the number of group members, but the group leader must register all members at First, teams should designate a group leader who will register on the Web site as a Contestant. At registration, the leader should select “group entry.” A group name will be selected through the submission form.

 Do NOT include:

  • Content regarding domestic disasters – the focus is specific to international disaster response
  • Any disparaging remarks, questionable content or specific product names
  • Any request for viewers to send donations to the USAID CIDI. USAID CIDI does not accept donations
  • A word of caution about too much focus on material donations – keep your message clear and don’t rely on past entries to guide your submission
  • Entrants should not have any trademark products displayed in their PSAs.

All entries will be viewed by a panel of disaster relief and media professionals who will select three winners in each category.

The USAID Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) will vote in a preliminary round for the finalists each of three categories: Best Print PSA, Best Video PSA and Best Digital Image PSA. After staff selects finalists in each category, a panel of external judges will vote in a final round for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

The judges will review all entries for overall impact, originality, memorable content, delivery/artistic skill, and clear and concise messages. The judges are looking for the entries that best convey both the importance and the impact of appropriate international disaster relief. The judges’ decisions are final.

Following the judges’ decisions, CIDI will announce the winners in each category the week of April 15, 2019. Winners will be notified by email or phone.


Students can submit their own printvideo or digital image PSA that demonstrates why monetary donations are the most effective way to support international disaster relief. PSAs can be submitted in English or Spanish.

  • PSAs should inform the public of how to best help international disaster survivors.
  • Ideally, PSAs should build on the interest of people ready to donate to an international disaster relief effort and demonstrate how they can channel their interest into optimal (monetary) donations.
  • Monetary donations are the fastest and best way to provide effective relief to international disaster survivors.
  • Material donations like canned food, bottled water and used clothing, take time and money to transport, rarely meet survivors’ urgent needs, and often interfere with onsite professional relief efforts.
  • One of the biggest misconceptions about international disaster relief is that goods and products are urgently needed after a disaster. Supplies, particularly food and clothing, can almost always be purchased locally. Local procurement provides the triple advantage of stimulating local economies, ensuring that supplies arrive quickly and reducing transportation and storage costs. Also remember that certain foods, particularly in famine situations, can make survivors ill.
  • The public’s help is crucial, and appropriate forms of giving (monetary) can make a lasting and positive impact in an international disaster situation.
  • When choosing a charity to give to, always select well-established, recognized international disaster relief agencies with a track record of providing relief, with program professionals on-site and the capacity to provide assistance to those who need it most.
  • And remember, it isn’t about telling people what NOT to do – but rather to take their good intentions and interest and inform them of the best ways to help when disaster strikes.

The print submission requirements are that two formats are submitted: a print publication full page advertisement and a website banner advertisement version.

  • For the print ad, the file name should be: Print_LastName_FirstName_2019
  • Print PSAs should be an 8”x10” image as an EPS or InDesign file with a minimum of 300 DPI resolution – you also must include a JPG copy of your PSA to be viewed by judges and the public on the website.
  • The JPG should be 72 DPI and with maximum dimensions of 1350 x 900 px (or 900 x 1350 px). We recommend exporting the final JPG (following the above guidelines) directly from the EPS file to ensure minimal loss of quality. It is important to note that the competition judges and the public will only view the web JPG version of your entry – this is the version the judges will vote on, which will ultimately determine a winner. Please be sure that the final JPG image is readable and clear.
  • Print ads should be in CMYK color space
  • All images and fonts should be embedded
  • For the banner ad, the file name should be: Banner_LastName_FirstName_2019
  • The website banner ad should be a JPG sized at 300 x 250 px

All print submissions must include CIDI and USAID logos. Print advertisement packages should be designed to be placed successfully as a full-page PSA in a national magazine or newspaper.

If you are not the original author of the imagery or artwork you are including in your print entry, you should obtain permission from the source you are securing any copyrighted imagery from or purchase the materials from a royalty-free website.

Only use images from google that are listed as “Labeled for reuse with modification.” You do this by entering your search term and clicking “Search tools” in the Google menu. Then click “Usage rights.” Finally, click “Labeled for reuse with modification.”

Video submissions should be exactly 30 seconds in length and filmed & edited in high resolution. All contest entries should be submitted in low resolution. If you are named a winner you will be asked to submit the high-resolution version separately. Low resolution video entries should be submitted as:

  • MP4, MPEG or MPG file format
  • Encoded as H.264
  • Screen resolution of 640 x 480 px
  • 15 frames per second
  • not to exceed 40MB

High resolution video entries should be submitted as MP4, MPEG or MPG file format, and should not exceed 1GB (1000 MB) in size.

You must obtain consent from any actors who appear in your PSA. Entrants will be required to declare that they have consent from any people appearing in their PSA. Note that consent requirements may vary from state to state. A section on the PSAid website, titled “Personal Release Form”, is available at

A digital image constitutes any type of graphic or image that can be used online to convey the “Cash is Best” messaging. Submissions for this category can be in one of the following file types: PNG or JPG if the digital image is static, or GIF if the image is animated.

Entries submitted under this category can be static or animated. Submissions for this category should be developed to work on multiple social media channels. (Note: the sides of the image might be cropped on certain platforms. Be sure to keep all critical information at least 160 px from the left and right edges of the image.) The requirements are:

  • The file name should be: DigitalImage_LastName_FirstName_2019
  • Digital image dimensions must be 1600 x 800 px and exported at 72 PPI.
  • A static digital image entry should be submitted as a JPG or PNG, while an animated digital image entry should be submitted as a GIF no larger than 8 MB.
  • The original design file (Ai, EPS, PSD, etc.) should be included and all linked images and fonts must be embedded or packaged.
  • The information should be clear and accurate
  • You must use the data provided to ensure the message is clear and on track
  • All digital image submissions must include USAID CIDI and USAID logos.


Monetary donations are less expensive for donors and more beneficial to recipients than material donations because:

  • Financial contributions are easily convertible to meet the international disaster survivors’ specific and immediate needs.
  • Cash is more efficient, allowing purchases to be made quickly and locally at a bulk discount, and at lower transportation and distribution costs.
  • Monetary donations allow for purchases that are fresh and familiar to survivors, and that are nutritionally, culturally and environmentally appropriate. Monetary donations also support fragile local economies and enable local markets to recover more rapidly.

Cash donations save money by helping aid groups avoid delays and steep transportation and administrative costs associated with material donations. CIDI offers helpful information for contestants on their website. Contestants should review information both at and

Yes, entries become the property of USAID CIDI and USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.